Title: The Price of Forgiveness
Author: (Only) Anne
Posted here: 08/05
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made. In addition, the part of the song mentioned in Part 3 is not mine either, it belongs to Everlast ‘Eat at Whitey’s’, the song- ‘Love for Real’- I apologize to Everlast, I love the CD, really it’s my favorite right now, but Angel(in my warped universe, not Joss’s) thought it was appropriate, but dumb.
Distribution: As long as you tell me where it is, it’s okay.
Feedback:Please, I need it, this part is angsy and I don’t know whether I should continue.
Cordelia sat on the couch staring at her Christmas tree.
Every once in awhile a shaky delicate hand would reach up and brush away the tears falling from her eyes. She tried to concentrate on the lights surrounding the tree and the obscure patterns they flickered through out the darkened room.
But, every time she tried to focus or have a complete thought a sharp pain would shoot through her chest. Cordelia tried to stop her thoughts, so the pain wouldn’t come. She gulped at the wine in her hand trying to numb the fear and pain in her soul. More tears fell as she acknowledged that it was no use.
Angel had fired her, really fired her. He had purposely cut off any connection between the two of them. And it wasn’t just her; he had also cut off Wesley and Gunn. What was she suppose to do? She cried in the pillow.
When Angel had first said that they were fired, she hadn’t believed him. Cordelia knew that he was upset, more upset than she had ever seen him before. And while the whole letting the evil lawyers die at the whims of Darla and Drusilla was not a good thing, in fact it was a really not good thing, and something that needed to be seriously discussed, she knew instinctively that then wasn’t the right time.
So, she had told Gunn and Wesley to go home and come back to work the next day, and then they could try to get through to Angel. Cordelia had been confident and optimistic. After all, Angel needed them, they were family. No matter how mixed up the Darla situation had made him, he still needed needed them, right? No, she thought in despair.
She remembered Angel’s coldness and anger when they returned the next day. He told them to get out. Angel had said that they weren’t wanted or needed. Well, she thought in distress, he had said more than that. His words and tone had been cruel and unforgivable.
That day, Angel had left his friends shocked and hurt in the lobby. That time she had gone after the vampire. Cordelia cringed at the memory, the pain shooting through her chest.
Cordelia had followed Angel up to his room. She had started to get real mad. It had been true that Cordelia could have cared less about Darla’s well being. She hated the human Darla and the vamp Darla, but she knew that Angel had cared, so she had tried to as understanding as she could about the situation.
That was until Angel lied to them, ignored them, berated them and turned away from them. Angel had turned away from her. She had been livid.
“Just who in the hell do you think you are?” She barged into his suite.
“Cordelia, get out of here,” he shouted back.
“Not until I have my say,” she stormed. “You can’t just fire us, me! I am your goddamn, migraine feeling seer, remember?”
“No! You can’t ignore me. Redemption, remember?”
“I don’t care!”
“Don’t care? You don’t care that you have a chance to be human again, that your soul can be saved?”
“Saved?,” he growled. “Saved? How can it be, when I failed. Darla is lost!”
“Darla?! That blonde bitch was lost before this all started,” she yelled back.
Angel turned growling at Cordelia. “Get the hell out now!”
Cordelia stared at Angel in his vampire visage, her tears of sadness and anger falling down her face. “You would give up all that you have worked for, suffered for…for that bitch?”
Angel growled and shot his hand to her throat. Cordelia gasped as his grip tightened around her neck. She struck at his arm, struggling against his superior strength. “Angel,” she gasped.
Angel stared at his hand clutched around her slim neck, in shock. He suddenly released his hold. Cordelia jerked back and fell to the floor, her hand rubbing the reddening mark on her neck.
“Cordy,” he said brokenly his human face firmly in place.
Cordelia pushed herself up against the wall working her way to her feet. She stared at the vampire, not knowing who he was anymore. “They won, Holland and Darla, they got what they wanted…Angelus,” she choked.
“I am not Angelus,” he said quietly, still shocked at what he had done.
“No, you are worse, you’re Angelus with a soul.” She backed towards the door. “It looks like you win too, I am so gone from here. I told you more than once that I would be with you all the way to your redemption and I meant it with all my heart and soul, but I guess that is no longer your goal. So, goodbye,” she said gathering her strength.
Cordelia did not give the vampire a backwards look as she calmly left the room.
That had been over a week ago. And at that time, Cordelia had meant it when she told Angel goodbye. At that time she had hated him. Angel actually had hurt her, physically and emotionally, something she had never thought him capable of. She couldn’t forgive him. She wouldn’t forgive him. But that had been over a week ago. Cordelia had gotten over her anger at the vampire with in the next two days.
Then she had been just sad and determined. Cordelia had to get through to Angel. More than just her heart was on the line. Yes, she had finally admitted to herself, that she loved Angel with every fiber of her being, but it wasn’t just because of her feelings that she had to get through to him. Cordelia had to reach him because of all of the helpless souls out there.
So she went back to the hotel. That time she had gone to the vampire in love and determination, not in anger. Cordelia went up to Angel’s suite.
Angel had been sitting in the chair by the bed. He hadn’t even looked up when she stood by the door. Cordelia had stared at the vampire. He looked horrible. He was disheveled and paler than usual.
Cordelia had stood there for a moment longer then turned back downstairs. She returned a few moments later with a large mug full of warm blood.
“Here, you have to eat, drink, whatever,” she said shoving the mug towards the vampire. Angel shot out a hand a knocked the mug to the floor. Cordelia glanced down at the pig’s blood congealing on the fabric of her shirt.
“Gee, I promise you, there was no cinnamon or nutmeg or anything in that now worthless batch of pig’s blood,” she said in a weak attempt at humor. Angel ignored her and settled back into the statue mode he had been in earlier.
Cordelia sighed and knelt down by his side. She tentatively placed her small hands on Angel’s knees. “Angel, please talk to me. We have to work through this together, you can’t be alone, you need us, you need me. I need you,” she pleaded softly.
“Go away,” he said gruffly pushing her hands away. “I don’t need you or want you here. When will you get that through that superficial brain of yours? You are an annoying, whining, useless pest. When will you grasp that concept?” He shrugged. “Probably never, you are too self-absorbed to ever believe it. What is it you say, get a clue? I don’t want you or need you.”
Cordelia closed her eyes at the pain his words caused her. His words triggered all of her insecurities, all of her feelings of worthlessness and rejection that she had felt first from her parents, then from the whole Scooby gang.
“No,” she struggled with her anguish.
“Yes. If you don’t leave, I will.” Angel stood over the distraught girl sitting on the floor. “Don’t be here when I get back,” he said coldly. Cordelia’s heart broke as the vampire left the room. She stayed on the floor curled in a tight ball sobbing for what seemed like forever.
As soon as there were no more tears left in her, she slowly got up. Cordelia looked around the room, wiping her eyes. What was she suppose to do, now? she thought in fear. The one most important person in her life had finally and definitely rejected her. Well, what else is new, she had thought with pain. She moved in a daze out of the room.
Cordelia didn’t even know how she had left the hotel that night. But somehow she had made it safely back to her apartment. Cordelia had fallen exhausted and beaten on the couch. Dennis had gently laid a blanket over the despondent girl. That had been two days ago.
Now, it was Christmas Eve and she was alone. Granted, Wesley had called to see if she was okay and offered to come over. Wesley had called every day since they had been fired. But Cordelia couldn’t be with anyone, not yet. So, she declined his invitation. Though, a part of her had realized that Wesley was also going through some pain at Angel’s callousness and that the former watcher needed her friendship.
But she wasn’t up to dealing with a distraught Wesley, not yet. Oh god, she thought remembering the sound of pain in Wesley’s voice, she was selfish, just like Angel had said. No, Angel wasn’t right, she was a different person than she had been.
“Dennis,” she called to her ghostly roommate. “Where’s the phone? I have to call Wesley.” She looked around the room. “Thanks,” she said as she grabbed the portable phone floating in front of her.
“Cordelia, are you all right?”
“Yes. I just wanted to invite….No…,” she screamed clutching her head in pain. Dennis caught the phone as it fell to the floor.
“Cordelia!” Wesley’s voice yelled over the phone. Wesley tensed as he heard Cordelia’s scream of pain through the phone.
“Cordelia,” he repeated. “I will be right there,” he yelled through the phone. “Dennis, get her some water and aspirin. I will be right there,” he repeated hanging up the phone. Wesley grabbed his jacket and ran out of his apartment.
Wesley attempted to call Angel from his cell phone as he ran the red lights on the empty street towards Cordelia’s apartment. Finally, after numerous repeated rings of the phone, Angel answered.
“Angel,” Wesley heard the growl on the other end. “Cordelia has had a vision,” he hurried, yelling to overcome the sound of his motorcycle. He got nothing in response except a dial tone. Wesley was tempted to throw the phone in the street. But he held on to it, realizing that it was a dark souled vampire that he really wished to throw in the streets.
He clutched at the phone as he dangerously made the next turn. He punched in Gunn’s number as he tried to navigate the street and hold on to the phone.
“Gunn,” he shouted into the phone. “Get to Cordelia’s now. Vision.”
Cordelia grasped at the water and painkillers from the air gratefully. “Thanks,” she moaned. “Paper and pen, please,” she said weakly. She wanted Angel; he used to always hold her until she felt better. Except for the last time, she grimaced.
But still, she thought, just maybe. “And the phone, please,” she asked hopefully. Cordelia called Angel. The phone rang repeatedly with no answer. Now what? she thought in despair. Cordelia got up and started to gather the weapons she had in the apartment.
There weren’t many. Cordelia had only some stakes and holy water, but not much else. All of the real heavy duty arsenal had been moved out with Angel, she thought with disgust.
Wesley came rushing into the apartment a few moments later. “Cordelia, are you….”
“I am fine, now. There is a woman about to be butchered by some very ugly mean type demon.” She glanced at her watch. “Soon.”
“Ange…” Wesley started.
“Won’t help, I know. But we can’t let her die,” Cordelia said with determination.
“No.” Wesley started to help Cordelia put what little weapons she had into the knapsack. “I did call… Gunn,” he said to the young man standing in the doorway holding his own bag. “What’s the deal?”
“The deal is a very nasty, lethal demon and it is just us,” said Cordelia moving towards the door.
“Okay,” Gunn said following the girl out of the apartment.
The trio reached the alley Cordelia had seen in her vision with in minutes. “Now what,” Gunn whispered.
“Gee, I don’t know, Angel usually just goes barreling in, but seeing as we can be a little bit more killed than he, I suggest we go in more quiet like,” Cordelia whispered back.
“Okay, I will go over there,” Wesley said. “Gunn, you go to the left. Cordelia maybe you should just stay by the car,” he suggested softly.
“Wesley, we don’t have the luxury of keeping me out of harms way. In fact, I think I need to go straight down the middle and draw out the demon. Maybe he will go for me rather than the other woman, seeing she is not here yet. We better hurry. Let’s go,” she said with conviction.
The men nodded and followed several feet off to the side in the darkness. The demon materialized immediately as Cordelia reached the center of the alley. She stilled in momentary fear at the sight of the large demon.
Cordelia took a deep breath and lunged towards it, stake first. The wooden stake crumbled as it hit the demon’s tough hide. Wesley and Gunn simultaneously attacked the demon. But the creature was too strong. It tossed them aside as if they were paper dolls. Cordelia dazed from her fall, fumbled around on the ground for anything stronger than her stakes. She sighed in relief as she felt a long leaden pipe.
She got up slowly, trying not to draw the demon’s attention. Cordelia crept up behind the demon and swung with all her might at the creature’s neck. She was rewarded with a howl of pain. The demon turned on her, lashing out and knocking her to the ground. Cordelia gasped in pain as she hit the pavement. She looked around. “Gunn, the pipe,” she said throwing the make do weapon towards the street kid struggling to get to his feet.
“Got it,” he said picking up the pipe and swinging towards the demon.
The creature screamed again in pain as Gunn’s blow landed on its head. Wesley scrambled to his feet looking around for another type of weapon. He grabbed at a large piece of granite at his feet. Wesley threw the block of stone at the creature. The demon growled and lunged at the former watcher. Wesley couldn’t get away in time. The demon picked up his human body and threw him head first into the brick building aligning the alley.
Cordelia screamed in panic and rage as she saw Wesley crumble to the ground. She picked up a cinder block and jumped onto the creature. She attached herself to its back with a firm grip on its neck and pounded the cinder block into its skull. The demon fell to the ground howling in pain and rage. Once it was on the ground, Cordelia let loose her hold. She got to her feet and kicked the demon straight in the temple. “Gunn,” she gasped.
“Got it,” the young man cried as he drove the lead pipe trough the demon’s skull.
Cordelia ran towards Wesley’s still body. “Gunn, I think….” Cordelia broke into sobs, her cry louder than the demon’s death wail. Gunn threw the bloody pipe down and ran to her. He leant down to feel for Wesley’s pulse.
“It’s okay, I feel a pulse, but it is weak, very weak.”
“Take him to the hospital, now,” she ordered.
“Of course. Wait, you aren’t coming?”
“No,” she said getting up brushing off her torn clothes. “I have something to do.” Cordelia started to limp out of the alley.
“Barbie doll, you should be checked out, too,” Gunn said with concern.
Cordelia smiled slightly. “No, I am okay, just a little bruised. Take Wesley to the hospital. I will meet you there in a little while. Go. Don’t worry. I will be fine,” she said firmly.
Cordelia caught a cab down the street from the alley. For the first time that she could remember, she didn’t give a shit about how she looked or the people that stared at her. Cordelia gave the driver the address of the Hyperion** hotel.
The driver looked speculatively at the girl. Cordelia’s clothes were torn and dirty and a large bruise was forming on her pretty face. “You do have money?”
“Yes,” she glared menacingly at the man. “Take me there.”
The cab driver gulped and decided that even if the young girl didn’t have money, he wasn’t going to argue with her. For a dirty, abet beautiful and innocent looking girl she looked very dangerous at that moment. He opened the back door for her.
Cordelia sat quietly in the back seat. She was seething. The bastard, she thought. Well, he wanted her out of his life, well he would get it. Wesley almost died, he still may be in danger, the bastard, Angel would not get away with it. Cordelia wasn’t going to the hotel to try to talk or guilt him into seeing reason. No, she was through with that, no, now all she wanted was what she would need.
“Here we are,” the driver called.
“Good,” she got out of the cab. She threw some bills on the seat.
Cordelia pushed at the front door only to find that it was locked. She reached into her pocket and pulled at her keys. Once the door was unlocked she entered the hotel. Cordelia went straight for her former desk and opened the bottom drawer. She forced herself to ignore the mustiness of the place.
It smelled like it had been closed up for centuries rather than a couple of weeks. The smell of the place was rank. She was relieved to find what she was looking for, she wanted desperately to get out of the decaying atmosphere of the place. For a brief moment she thought of Angel in this place, and her heart hurt, but then she forced herself to remember Wesley hurt, possibly dying and she repressed her love for the vampire.
She quickly grabbed what she was searching for. She walked to the cabinet in the other room; she stopped as she past the front desk. Cordelia went behind the counter and pulled out the petty cash box. She was going through it as Angel came down the stairs.
“I told you to get out.”
Cordelia looked blandly up at the vampire. “Don’t worry, I am not staying.” She stuffed a wad of cash in her pocket.
Cordelia shook her head and walked towards the weapon cabinet. She opened it with the keys she had taken from her desk. She started to pull the weapons out when Angel’s firm grip stop her. He had made it from the staircase to Cordelia’s side than less than a second. “What are you doing,” he growled.
Cordelia turned and faced the vampire. “Stealing? Call the cops or better yet, think about where the petty cash box came from, it wasn’t from you. You have absolutely no sense about running a business. This is ours, mine, Wesley’s and even Gunn’s. See, we knew that petty cash is important to a business. You know, in case, we had to pay a delivery boy or buy more fax paper, it doesn’t matter, you never thought of it, but we did. So, this,” she gestured to the cash in her pocket, “Is ours. And if I have taken too much, let’s just say it’s severance pay. It’s not like you gave us the standard two weeks notices, now is it,” she said contemptuously to him.
Angel didn’t hear a word of her rambling. He didn’t care about the money. He just wanted her out of the hotel, but not before he found out why she was bruised and in pain.
Cordelia glared at Angel and attempted to pull away from his grip. She was momentarily surprised that she was able to free her arm. She grunted and turned back to the weapons cabinet, tossing the items in the canvas bag she had gotten from her desk.
“What happened to you?” he asked watching Cordelia fill the bag with weapons.
“Nothing, you need to worry about,” she said coldly as she emptied the cabinet of everything but the scroll. Her hand reached for it then she pulled away. Cordelia winced in pain as she went to zip up the bag.
“What are you doing and what happened to you?” the vampire demanded again.
Cordelia faced the vampire. “I am taking what belongs to me, the Seer to the Powers. These weapons belong to the Warrior that I serve. That’s not you, not anymore. And until the Powers deign to give me a new warrior or wipe my memory of all I have been through, then they belong to me. Because, I will not face another angry, gross demon in a dark alley armed with only a stake, some holy water, a lead pipe and a piece of rock. And I WILL NOT let Wesley or Gunn die, because we were unprepared.” She turned to walk past the vampire.
Angel reached out to grab her.
Quicker than either thought possible, Cordelia brought a stake up to the vampire’s chest. “Wesley, Wesley, someone you use to call friend, no you used to call him family, is on his way to the hospital, because while you might have fired us the Power’s didn’t,” she with contempt.
“We will continue the fight, regardless if it’s for your so called redemption. And you said I was the self-absorbed one,” she grunted. “Not everything is about you and you suffering. God, how could I have been so wrong about you,” she said in disgust. “And I actually thought I loved you.” Cordelia pulled the stake away and pocketed it.
She pushed past the stunned vampire. Cordelia stopped at the front counter and took another set of keys. “My cab is gone. Your car will be left outside in the sunlight. Good riddance,” she said leaving the hotel.